Edgerton visited an eye camp conducted by The Foundation’s Nepalese partner organisation, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. Over a few days Dr Sanduk Ruit and his team helped restore sight to more than 200 patients, working to carry out high quality eye operations in a temporary operating theatre set up in a local school.
This year the Fred Hollows Foundation has been awarded the honour of Australian Charity of the Year at the Australian Business Awards. It’s the first time they have presented an award for Australian Charity of the Year, alongside their other, business focused, awards.
Check out this short video that documents some of Joel’s experiences with the Fred Hollows foundation. Make sure you have a Kleenex or 5 ready, seeing (excuse the pun) the results of this Foundation’s work is pretty special.
While he was visiting the eye camp Joel Edgerton took time out to answer a few questions about his involvement with the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation?
I’m very passionate about what’s going on with The Fred Hollows Foundation, not just here in Nepal – I’m very interested in what’s going on in Australia and other countries.
There’s something very special about the organisation of personnel here, it’s a very thorough organisation that is not just trying to tackle the problem on one level, but it’s trying to tackle the problem by setting up an ongoing infrastructure, which I think is really important.
I think that’s what Fred Hollows really stands for and I think that’s what the work in Nepal here is really showing – there’s a sense of not just looking at the problem of blindness and trying to fix individuals, but to train and educate communities, to train doctors, not just here but around the world, to then go out and continue the work so that the word grows outwards, to the point where it becomes an unstoppable force in a way.
How would you describe the approach of the late Australian eye doctor Fred Hollows?
He was just a good man, a good doctor, and an adventurous one – someone who went outside the usual kind of boundaries, was a little bit fearless, and in a true sense, put the health of other people ahead of his own ambition, and I think had an incredibly strong ambition himself, to make a real difference.
I kind of look at Fred as a real pioneer, and as an adventurer, and as someone who’s incredibly fearless. He’s a very special guy. And I think that his qualities live on here through Dr Ruit. And I think those two were very special friends and colleagues and I know that a lot of Fred’s kind of spirit and who he was, you hear it in Dr Ruit in the way that Dr Ruit thinks of Fred and their time together.
Can you describe what is going on at this eye camp?
Well we arrived here about three days ago and the camp had already been set up – it’s been set up in a series of buildings here just about five or six rooms in a row.
Dr Ruit is in the far room, but there’s a process which everybody’s going through. They first arrive and the paperwork starts with them getting checked in and screened, they’ll go through the process of a simple kind of eye test, then they’ll get their eyes tested further by someone in this first room, and the process becomes more and more detailed as they work out which patients need surgery and which patients need to be earmarked for future camps.